Tag Archives: social media strategies

Protecting Your Image

Your brand is your image.  Your image is conveyed through the marketing or your brand.  That encompasses your logo, your social media, your advertising, your employees, and every other aspect of your business … all the way down to  your business cards and the way you answer the phone.

The first step is to brand your work.  Even if you are a sole proprietor, your brand involves the unique nature of your business.  What separates you from others in your field?  How do you answer the question it seems everyone asks nowadays:  What makes you different?  You need to know.

The second step is to craft a plan to protect your brand.  Your image, in large part, is what attracts consumers to your business.  Your business, therefore, is on the line.  Your reputation is at stake, so every effort should be taken to protect what you represent.

Set standards for the use of your corporate logo.  Make sure printers have the right colors (PMS standards usually apply) and place your logo in the proper location.  Register the copyright and consider obtaining either trademark (™) or registered (®) marks.  Prevent infringement of your logo by copycats or thieves as much as you possibly can.  In an earlier blog we covered the basics of protecting your brand.

The biggest concern for companies should be protecting the corporate reputation in social media.  You can probably find an article about the topic in virtually any business-related publication since it has come to the forefront lately.  One of the best methods for protecting the brand is an old technique – have an online and social media strategy that includes written policies and a corporate protocol manual.

Outline who is authorized to post.  Be careful who has administrative capabilities.  Clarify content to be posted.  Create response time guidelines.  Follow accepted protocols for each social media application.  The concept for your business using social media should also be clearly defined in order to protect your credibility.

Here’s an example of how your reputation can be damaged in social media:  If your goal is to increase sales and every post is a pitch to move a product or service, the strategy is likely to backfire and drive consumers away from you.  Once that happens, it will be difficult to get them back.  Share relevant information that is of interest to users, especially your target audience.  You want to be a thought leader, which means consumers look to you and your company for valuable information to help them make decisions.

In today’s economy, monitoring your social media platform and electronic footprint involves keeping your website current and watching E-mail correspondence, too.  These have become as important, if not more so, than keeping tabs on your other advertising strategies.  Today’s savvy consumer checks out your web presence right away.

Other concerns when it comes to protecting your image may seem minor, but they have an impact on consumers.  Two we’ll cover here are employee attire and visual images.

When they’re at your place of employment or representing your business in the community, your employees convey your corporate image.  Consider putting a dress code in place, along with methods for dealing with violations.  How would you feel about a sales representative appearing at a trade show for your company wearing a logo emblazoned dress shirt that wasn’t tucked in?  Or being drunk?  How about a customer service representative swearing and arguing with a customer in a room full of other customers?  Proper training can go a long way toward alleviating the potential for these mistakes, which may seem trivial but could have an impact on sales.

How does the outside of your building look to the public … your potential consumer base?  If you have a reader board, keep it current.  Sweep the sidewalks and shovel the snow.  Keep the lobby clean and smelling nice.  It’s often the little things that make a difference.

Do your corporate vehicles sport faded or outdated signs?  Monitor the quality of your vehicle graphics and replace them when they start – repeat “start” – to look shoddy.  You want existing customers to be excited to see one of your vehicles in their neighborhood or community, and you also want potential customers to be enticed by the image they see.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand


Does Social Media Work?

If you’ve wondered whether you should engage social media for your business, the April 17th edition of USA Today shared the results of a study you might find interesting.

Here are some of the key elements of the article by Oliver St. John for you to consider as a business owner:

The CEO of Manta, Pam Springer, is quoted as saying the negative impression business owners have about using social media is “…probably because they don’t know how to launch a successful social-media campaign…”  She recommends connecting with other business owners to get advice, but only 36% of businesses do this.

There are resources available for business owners to connect with other owners and discuss topics such as social media.  In Green Bay, there’s a networking group consisting of only business owners that meets the 1st Wednesday of every month at the Green Bay Yachting Club.  There are other networking organizations for business owners as well.

The CEO of Crackerjack Marketing, Stephanie Schwab, is cited in the article as saying many small businesses “…just don’t have a place in social media.”  She’s right in the sense you need not put your business in the social media environment because of peer or media pressure to be there.  What she adds is that you need to know what you’re trying to get out of a social media campaign.

That’s common sense when it comes to marketing your business.  Far too many business owners lack a strategy for marketing their products and services.  If the only reason you advertise on TV is because the sales representative talked you into buying the time, you will either stumble into success or endure costly failure.  You need to strategize and, as Schwab adds, use “…marketing techniques already proved to work, such as having a website.”

One of the business owners covered near the end of the article said social media hasn’t helped her business, which sells $5,000 to $40,000 pool jobs.  She added, however, that out of the 200-300 jobs she does every  year, three or four come from people online.  Even at the low ($5,000 level) end, that could be as much as $20,000!

She gets most of her customers through referrals.  That is the preferred way to get new business for most of us, and what business owners fail to realize is that they should have a strategy for that aspect of marketing their business as well.

I always find articles such as this one fascinating, especially when 61% of small businesses fail to see any return on their investment in social media.  A similar article in Advertising Age, a marketing trade publication, a few years ago cited a study that showed roughly the same percentage (62%) of advertisers were dissatisfied with their agencies.  What I’ve discovered and believe strongly in is that, as a business owner, you must take the time to think through what your business is all about; less about where you’ve been and more on where you want to be.

When that picture is clear, how you need to market your business also becomes clear.  The proprietary process used at Brand Irons can walk you through the process, save you money over the long run, and add to your bottom line if you’re willing to change the way you’ve always done things.

To answer the question posed in the headline:  Yes, if you have a strategy that is designed to reach your target demographic.